The French government is trying to defend its strategy after being blamed for the collapse of a merger between Renault and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles just 10 days after the proposal was officially announced.
Citing sources familiar with the talks, Reuters reports that the French government, which has a 15 percent stake in Renault, overplayed its hand by demanding a series of guarantees and concessions that were deemed excessive by FCA.
A few hours after the Italian-American group withdrew its merger proposal, a French official reportedly called FCA’s Chairman John Elkann to see if he could reconsider, but was rejected.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that the government engaged in the negotiations constructively but they weren’t ready to back a deal without the endorsement of Renault’s long-time partner Nissan.
The Japanese company said it would abstain to vote on the merger proposal; the deal would give FCA access to Renault’s EV technology and the French company would get a piece of the profitable Jeep and Ram brands but the synergies would depend partly on access to technology jointly owned by Nissan.
Sources close to FCA played down the significance of Nissan’s stance and blamed the French government for the collapse of the deal, which could also further fray the already strained relations between the two partners.
Renault’s board of directors said in a statement that they are disappointed they’re not able to pursue the merger, adding that FCA’s interest highlighted the attractiveness of the company.